Low Back Pain Treatment

Jul 12, 2021Blog Post, Chiropractic, Low Back Pain

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Very few people will avoid back pain in their lifetimes. It’s simply one of the most common pain experiences that humans have. In fact, experts share that back pain is the single leading cause of disability. Millions of people are missing work, losing money, and missing out on life due to back pain each year. However, the severity and duration of back pain often comes down to just how proactive we are about seeking treatments.

Low back pain is especially common due to the fact that this part of the back is under extreme pressure. The lower back is designed to provide strength, structure, support, and flexibility for the entire upper body. The low back is a main source of support for the musculoskeletal system when we’re sitting, standing, walking, or exercising. Take a look at ways to treat low back pain.

Identifying Low Back Pain

How do you know if you have low back pain? This specific type of pain comes with a long list of telltale signs that are letting you know that something has gone wrong. For some people, low back pain is sudden, severe, and instantly debilitating. Other people experience a “trickle” effect with pain that starts off somewhat mundane before escalating to chronic pain and discomfort. While some people experience low back pain around the clock, other people only feel it when they are participating in certain activities. All of these symptoms point to low back pain:

  • A dull pain or ache in the low back.
  • Stinging or burning pain that radiates from the low back to the back of your thighs.
  • Pain that reaches the lower legs or feet.
  • Numbness and tingling that can be described as sciatic pain.
  • Muscles spasm impacting the back, hips and pelvis.
  • Muscle tightness in the low back and surrounding area.
  • Trouble with standing up straight.
  • Difficulties with walking.
  • Difficulties with transitioning from standing up to sitting down.

Pain in the low back is very often connected to trigger points. Identifying trigger points can actually be the key to solving the “mystery” of back pain that is difficult to diagnose or treat. Trigger points are small knots that are contracted. They can involve both single muscles and muscle groups. When these knots are pressed or squeezed, they send immediate “pain messages” to the lower back. While there’s still quite a bit to learn about trigger points, we do know they are often caused by musculoskeletal disorders, injuries, or repetitive strain. Trigger points can make pain especially confounding for people living with low back pain because they create something called referred pain. With referred pain, you are feeling sensations in one spot that are actually caused by a misalignment or blockage in a different spot.

How Do You Treat Low Back Pain?

When treating low back pain, the goal is to solve the whole problem. People looking for a long-term resolution to pain often aren’t satisfied with solutions like pain medications. They also wish to avoid invasive, expensive options that require long recovery times. This is where therapies and exercises come into the picture. Here’s a look at the goals of chiropractic intervention for low back pain:

  • Accurately identify the root cause of pain.
  • Reduce pain.
  • Reduce discomfort.
  • Boost range of motion.
  • Increase/restore flexibility.
  • Increase muscle strength.
  • Prevent future strain/injuries.

In studies, the fact that chiropractic treatments for low back pain have created “statistically significant reductions in pain-related disability after treatment” has caused researchers to determine that chiropractic manipulation is beneficial for the treatment of lower back pain. In recent years, therapeutic treatments for low back pain have increased greatly. There are now many different approaches to treating low back pain using manual adjustments and exercises.

Locating Trigger Points

If you’re dealing with referred pain and tension in your low back, locating any trigger points that are causing the pain could be what’s necessary to solve the issue! Chiropractors and physical therapists utilize special trigger-point therapies and massage techniques that help to break up the tension causing the pain. During the process, the muscle is stretched before pressure is applied at the tension point.

Compression

Compression can also be effective for relieving low back pain. In addition to helping to break up the tension that is causing pain, compression helps to reduce painful inflammation. In addition, it promotes blood flow to the back to assist with faster healing.

Stretching

Once the muscles involved in your low back pain are identified, you can work on stretching these muscles to relieve tension. In addition to helping to break up the pain that you’re already experiencing, stretching can help to boost flexibility to prevent future pain. Therapeutic stretching can be especially beneficial if you’ve experienced a decreased range of motion due to pain.

Correcting Musculoskeletal Imbalances

Many people don’t realize that their daily habits are oriented around creating back pain. Our backs never stop working. We can help them to work better by creating ideal conditions in terms of posture, range of motion, and support. First, understanding how to maintain proper posture while we’re standing, sitting and sleeping is so important! Countless studies have linked sitting for long periods with low back pain. If you spend a lot of time at a desk as part of your job, it’s important to be “back smart” when it comes to your workstation setup. You should be in a seated posture that allows your feet to maintain full contact with the floor. In addition to using an ergonomic chair, it’s important to keep your computer monitor at eye-level height to ensure that you’re not tilting or tucking your chin to be able to read your screen. You should also take measures to reduce glare on your screen that could cause you to “stoop forward” or “crane your neck” to be able to see your screen. Lastly, your arms should be supported.

Keeping balance is also important even if you’re not sitting at a desk all day. This means avoiding the habit of hunching when looking at your phone. This is one of the most common reasons for spinal misalignments today! Even wearing the wrong shoes can create extreme low back pain. People with “flat feet” are especially vulnerable to low back pain due to the impact of the floor against the soles of their feet. If you’re unable to find supportive shoes out in the wild, it may be time to see a specialist to have custom orthotics made.

Therapeutic Lasers for Low Back Pain

Laser therapy is increasingly being used for patients with low back pain that isn’t responsive to traditional therapies and treatments. Gentle and non-invasive, laser therapy prompts healing and regeneration at the cellular level. In studies, researchers have noted “statistically significant improvements in pain severity” following low-level laser treatments for back pain.

Can You Do Exercises at Home for Low Back Pain?

Certainly! Many people find that working stretching into their routines allows them to gradually reduce back pain. Stretching can also help you to insulate your back from pain if you haven’t yet experienced pain even though you’re concerned about your “back health” due to your lifestyle. Some popular stretches for back health include:

  • “Knee to chest” stretches.
  • Trunk rotation.
  • Gluteal stretches.
  • Trunk arching.
  • Diagonal curls.

Of course, stretching on your own at home may not be enough if you’re dealing with low back pain caused by a trigger point, injury, or misalignment. There is also the problem that it’s hard to know if you are doing stretches properly in a way that actually benefits you based on the source of your back pain. Any at-home exercises and stretches that you do can be greatly helped by actually seeing a chiropractor to reverse the source of your back pain! Once you’ve established a plan for getting your back in balance, you can focus on lifestyle changes that will help you to maintain a strong, healthy back.

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